A group of reporters are trying to decipher the last word ever spoken by Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire newspaper tycoon: "Rosebud". The film begins with a news reel detailing Kane's life for the masses, and then from there, we are shown flashbacks from Kane's life. As the reporters investigate further, the viewers see a display of a fascinating man's rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the top of the world.Written by
Orson Welles' deal with RKO gave him unprecedented freedom for a first-time director. He was to write, produce, direct and act in two pictures for the company, with complete autonomy in the hiring of actors, technicians and final cut. Studio boss George Schaefer had to greenlight the project and could veto any request for extra finance over the modest $500,000 budget (which eventually would be exceeded by $200,000), but no one other than Welles was allowed to view the rushes. See more »
The Russian newspaper "Bednota," featured in the movie's opening newsreel, had been merged with "Socialisticheskoe Zemledelye" in 1931, long before Kane's death in 1941. See more »
In a very rare move the director's credit is shown on the same card as the cinematographer's. This was Orson Welles's personal decision to show his thanks to cinematographer Toland for his enormous contributions to the film, meaning equal rights. See more »
The Italian-language version cut an overwhelming number of scenes, leading to "complete" versions of the film to be circa half of the time in English and only the remaining half in Italian. See more »
Hey, make no mistake: this film does deserve lofty status. It is a good film, fantastically photographed.....but the greatest of all time? I question that, but that kind of question - Who's number one? - is impossible to answer.
I would think to be number one you would have to have a great technical film, great story, great acting, great camera-work as this has, AND have it generally loved by the public. Then you have a true number one picture of all time. I'm not a fan of "Gone With The Wind," but that was a technical marvel, too, for its day and was universally loved by millions of people....so I can see that being listed number over Citizen Kane. The same goes for Casablanca, Ben-Hur and a number of wonderful films.
Anway, concerning this movie, I enjoyed it best for the cinematography. Orson Welles, the "genius" behind this film, was ahead of his time with his inventive camera-work. The acting is good and it's interesting to note that this was Welles' first acting role. Yes, he was an amazing talent, behind or in front of the camera. The story is pretty unlikable and, in this day and age would be too boring for most people under 50, sad to say. However, even older, more "mature" folks find this hard to get through sometimes from what I have read.
The unlikable part mainly comes from the lead character, "Charles Foster Kane," played by Welles. He is simply a selfish egomaniac. Other unpleasant parts of the story include several scenes with his second wife, in which she berates him in this shrill hysterical voice; the fact there is very little humor in here and the ending is anything but uplifting.
For those who find this a confusing story, I suggest giving it another chance. I found this film better the more chances I gave it. It also looks fabulous on the latest special-edition DVD. In summary, it was a great technical achievement but remember professional critics usually have the same mindset and are afraid to be their own person, so don't feel stupid or inadequate if this film doesn't do it for you. You are hardly alone. But, yet, that camera-work has to be seen and appreciated if you really love movies.
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